The Chiesa Nuova (“New Church”) is located in the Ponte district of Rome. Its official name is Santa Maria in Vallicella Church and it is on the prestigious HERITY list. The church is graced by three paintings by Rubens and several more important art works.
Chiesa Nuova Rome (Santa Maria in Vallicella)
Address, opening hours and ticket price
The address of the Chiesa di Santa Maria in Vallicella is Via del Governo Vecchio, 134 – 00186 Rome (tel. +39 066875289 or 0668808448). Opening Hours: Every day from 07:30 to 12:00 and from 16:30 to 19:30. Admission is free. During mass it is not possible to visit the church.
History and Description
The Santa Maria in Vallicella church is strongly associated with San Filippo Neri. This “Pippo Buono,” as he was affectionately called by the Romans, founded the Confraternita dei Pellegrini e dei Convalescenti (“Brotherhood of the Pilgrims and the Recovering”) in 1548 to support needy pilgrims who had come to Rome.
In recognition, Pope Gregory XIII donated the Santa Maria in Vallicella Church to the good Filippo Neri. When the 12th century church was restored it was given the name Chiesa Nuova. This restoration, which took place in 1575 under the direction of Pietro Bartolini, was completed in 1583 by Martino Longhi il Vecchio. Its consecration took place in 1599.
The interior of the church is characterized by three naves, with a central aula and chapels on both sides.
Originally the facade gave out onto a small square. However, this was demolished in 1885, to facilitate the construction of Corso Vittorio Emanuele II. On what is left, you can now admire the Fontana della Terrina and a monument dedicated to the 18th century poet and librettist Pietro Metastasio.
The facade was completed only at the beginning of the 17th century (1605) and is based on that of the Chiesa del Gesù. It consists of two levels decorated with Corinthian columns.
The main entrance is flanked by columns and two smaller portals.
The upper part of the façade is characterized by a window with a balustrade between columns on which a curved tympanum rests.
The bell tower was built in 1666 by Camillo Arcucci.
The statues in the niches on the sides depict “Saint Jerome” and “San Gregorio Magno”.
What to see in the Chiesa Nuova Rome
Although the original intentions were to keep interior decorations to a minimum, over the course of the centuries many works of art by famous painters were added.
Pietro da Cortona was responsible for several frescoes in the main body of the church. The painting on the vault depicts the “Madonna and San Filippo Neri”. He was also responsible for the “Triumph of the Trinity” in the dome and the depictions of the four prophets Jeremiah, Isaiah, Daniel, and Ezekiel in the pendentives. These four authored the “major prophets”, whereby “major” does not indicate the importance, but rather the length of the works.
“Angeli in Venerazione della Madonna” (near the altar) was created by Rubens (1608). This work was painted over an ancient image of the Virgin and Child.
On the sides there are two more paintings by Rubens. The “Saints Gregorio Magno, Mauro and Papia” and “Saints Domitilla, Nereo and Achilleo” were also painted in 1608.
To the left of the presbytery is the San Filippo Neri Chapel, which is richly decorated with marble and pietre dure. The relics of the saint himself are in an urn inside this chapel. The altarpiece was painted by Guido Reni.
In 1797, the French removed Caravaggio’s “Deposition” from the church. It was later returned to Rome and can now be seen in the Pinacoteca Vaticana. The 2nd chapel on the right contains a copy of this work.
The sacristy contains works by Pietro da Cortona (the ceiling), Alessandro Algardi, Guido Reni, Guercino and others.
In the right arm of the transept is a pulpit made by Borromini for the associated monastery. It has only been in its present location since the 1920s.